June 20, 2013There were a number of things that attracted Rev. Thomas Andrew “Drew” Van Culin to Christ Church Grosse Pointe.
“Christ Church has a rich history with the Episcopal church,” he began. “Its music program is second to none. Its legacy is a significant legacy for music and worship and it has a strong ministry program. The history and ministry were a draw for me.”
He and his wife, Jessica, were also drawn to the community.
“The people Jessica and I met in visits here helped us see it as home and a community for us. I can see us being a part of (the community) and as a place to raise our children.”
Van Culin is the 10th rector of Christ Church and gave his first sermon May 19.
He comes to Grosse Pointe from St. John’s Cathedral, Denver, one of the largest cathedrals in the country. He served as sub-dean and canon for more than three years and was in charge of operations, programming, adult formation, pastoral care and worship life. Prior to his Denver assignment, Van Culin served as associate for Christian Education at The Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, Palm Beach, Fla. and as priest-in-charge and rector at St. David of the Hills, Woodland Park, Colo.
Born and raised in Hawaii, he is the son and nephew of Episcopal priests. Van Culin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in classical humanities at Davidson College in North Carolina in 1995, and a Master of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Mass., in 1999. His ordination as a deacon took place in the Episcopal Diocese in Hawaii in 1999 and ordination as a priest in 2000.
Van Culin and his wife have two children, Sam and Catherine.
The 40-year-old minister said his first goals are to become acquainted with the church community, what is celebrated as a community, followed by forming concrete goals.
“I’m learning the customs. There is much in place,” he said.
With more than 700 families in the congregation, Van Culin plans to maintain and carry on the traditional Anglican worship into the next generation.
“I know it (worship) is changing but we can influence that change.
“I’m excited to be here,” he said. “It’s a beautiful community, a worshipping community. Children are invited to be at home here and grow with the church — what a gift. Christ Church is committed to beautiful music and liturgy and sustainative faith — faith that is grappled with but out to challenge life in the 21st century; (faith) that will grow with us, can withstand questions and challenges life brings.”
Not long after Van Culin moved into the rectory at the back of the property on Grosse Pointe Boulevard, the church’s annual antique show took over three floors of the church for three spring days and staffed by volunteers. It was an opportunity for Van Culin to witness how members worked together and how the community supports the event that benefits the church choirs.
“The antique show was beautiful to look at,” he said. “The real beauty is community support. The real gift are the people behind it all. The greater part of Thursday through Sunday, I was milling about, connecting with the parishioners.”
The church is located at 61 Grosse Pointe Blvd., Grosse Pointe Farms. For more information, call (313) 885-4841.